TWO different cultures came together to share their dairy farming techniques on Tuesday, when a group of five Japanese dairy farmers visited a Lower Powlett River Road farm.
The farmers from Kushiro, Hokkaido, were taken on a tour of the Hitchings’ farm by Ian and Marilyn Hitchings, as part of a four-day trip to Australia.
The Japanese farmers are concerned that the Australian dairy industry will take over Japan, and were eager to learn about Australia’s cost savings.
Agribusiness Gippsland executive assistant Madeline Toner was a translator between the Hitchings and the farmers, who checked out the dairy and toured around the paddocks.
Ian said he enjoyed educating the Japanese dairy farmers and learning from them.
“Most of these guys milk a lot more cows than me – there’s a bloke who milks 1000 cows but he employs 10 people,” he said.
“They’ve got 10 people doing 1000 cows and we’ve got three people doing 300 cows so it’s relative.
“They’re $1 a litre and we’re 50c, so they’re trying to see how they can do it cheaper.
“It’s interesting to see different farming techniques, because all around the world there’s different environments so people have to live within their environment to get the end result.
“I enjoy the cooperation with different cultures and to learn about different cultures – it’s a two-way thing. I’m quite proud of our farm and I like to show it off.”
The farming is very different in Kushiro, where cows live inside for 365 days of the year with an indoor feedlot.
Madeline said the visit was great for the farmers to learn about the cheaper operations of dairy farmers in Australia.
“They seem really shocked at the efficiency of Australian farmers, the small number of workers and the quick through-time – that’s what they’re most surprised about,” she said.
“And they love the cheap cars and tractors.”
The tour group experienced the pelican feeding at San Remo, visited Ian McFee’s Rhyll Farm, dropped in to Bassine Dairy and Speciality Cheeses at Bass and the Caldermeade Farm before returning to Melbourne.
Japanese farmers learn from Gippsland dairies